The Avengers (2012)

I have to admit, I’m a bit jealous.  See, I’m not a Marvel Comics fanboy and the success that their high quality movie versions of their characters are enjoying makes me – a DC Comics fanboy – insanely jealous.  See, I know that if there ever were to be a Justice League movie, well DC Comics would have to have some sort of alternate (read: inferior) version of Batman, because it’s quite clear that the Christopher Nolan Batman isn’t in a world populated with heroes.  And while I enjoyed Green Lantern there are loads of others that didn’t.  Not to mention how every Superman movie that has come out since Superman II has been pretty craptacular.  Marvel went and signed Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers, so there went the best hope for any Wonder Woman movie, and there aren’t even any rumours that I’ve heard about a Flash movie.  So yeah, super jealous because DC can’t get their cinematic shit together.  Moving on.

In the next couple days, my reviews for the rest of the movies that are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted (except Captain America, as that one was already posted) and what you’ll find is that they’re all pretty damn good movies.  For the most part.  The sum of them all is The Avengers, and honestly, you couldn’t find a better director than Joss Whedon to helm this ship.  Whedon has an affinity for the characters that he’s been reading for decades, and if we’ve learned anything from Whedon’s fanbase, it’s that he can make us feel in a way that most directors/writers take for granted.  When Wash dies in Serenity, he wasn’t the only who felt like they’d been impaled, and that was because of the heart that Whedon instills in his characters.  So the whole time watching Avengers, I was wondering which ancillary character was going to bite the dust so we could truly feel like This Means Something.

Another trademark Whedon-ism is the wry sense of humour that characters have in the face of insurmountable odds, and that humour is very much evident throughout the entire film.  I’m pretty sure every character, from Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) hell, everyone of them gets a laugh in the movie.  Of course, front and centre is the most fleshed character out of the Avengers team (so-far), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), but this movie isn’t his.  It’s not Captain America’s (Chris Evans) or Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth).  In fact, I think that the Big Bad of the movie, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), might have had more screen time than anyone else.

The movie doesn’t really have to waste time with showing the origin stories of all these heroes, because they have their own series, just like in the comic book world.  It’s the story of a bunch of combustible elements coming together to form a super power to combat the end of the world.  Honestly, I would have to say that this is the greatest comic book movie of all time, and that’s mostly because I think the Christopher Nolan Batman films can actually hold their own as non-comic book movies.  The Avengers movie and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a lot of fanboy pandering to them, but it’s all great popcorn, summer blockbuster fun.  The Nolan Batman films, well they’re exploring areas outside of the comic books with the implication that they take place in a very realistic world.  Nolan’s Batman would never be in the Justice League.

Anyways, The Avengers is pretty much what any comic book nerd dreams of: the action on the screen taken directly from the pages of their comic books.  The heroes they love, the villains they hate, they’re all expertly interpreted into a new medium and it’s a goddamn great movie.  I don’t even think you’d need to see the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to completely enjoy the movie, but they would certainly add more depth to the experience.  Also, the 3D was much like Toy Story 3, not invasive and all OMG LOOK IT’S 3D so I strongly recommend seeing it in a theatre when you can.

5 / 5

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MacGruber (2010)

I must confess, I only had a passing knowledge of the “Saturday Night Live” Will Forte-acted character MacGruber before seeing the movie the first time.  And even though I just watched it for the second time – and enjoyed it enough – I’m not going to do anymore research into the character.  Normally, these “SNL” character movies are one-note jokes that wear out their welcome quickly into their 90-minute running time.  In the case of MacGruber, I wouldn’t want to watch a sanitized version of it because – honestly – so much of the humour in it is derived from the crassness and filth.

So, basically MacGruber (Forte) is ACTION FILM HERO GUY version of MacGyver, except absolutely stupid and clueless.  But charming in a way that Richard Dean Anderson with a mullet never was.  Search your feelings, you know it to be true.  This movie sees Colonel Jim Faith (Powers Boothe) recruiting MacGruber from a monastery to get MacG to save the world from the evil rich person, Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer).  After MacG’s original hand-picked team (all WWE wrestlers: Kane, Mark Henry, MVP, Great Khali and Chris Jericho; Big Show’s character was gay so he was not recruited) is accidentally blown up by MacG himself, MacG brings back his old friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and young soldier boy, Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillipe) to help take down Cunth.

Yup.  The villain is named Cunth.  MacGruber is that kind of sledgehammer subtle comedy.  Balls to the wall.  It’s absolutely ridiculous, and well, I enjoyed it.  Kilmer chews enough scenery to justify his bloated body, Forte is perfect as the worldly and insecure MacGruber.  Kristen Wiig is just wonderful, and I don’t know how Chris Jericho hasn’t gotten another movie role after his performance here.  Solid completely and totally R-rated comedy.

3.5 / 5

Red Dawn (1984)

Before you ask, no, I had never seen Red Dawn before this viewing.  I had heard many things about it, there are countless references to it through a multitude of pop culture mediums, and I just didn’t really care.  I mean really, it has Charlie Sheen in it!  That does not sell me on anything!  The best thing he’s ever been in was Being John Malkovich and I don’t even think he got the joke!  That was back in 1999!  Charlie Sheen sucks!

Also in the cast are the co-leads of Dirty Dancing, and while I always found Jennifer Grey attractive (pre and post nose job), Patrick Swayze has never done anything for me.  Thankfully this movie has a great supporting cast of grizzled character actors in Harry Dean Stanton (AVENGE MEEEEEE) and Powers Boothe.  Apparently, Red Dawn was the most violentest movie in the history of ever when it came out.  I’m sure something stupid has eclipsed it by now.  Oh wait, there’s a remake of it coming out later this year.  THANK GOD, because if there’s anything we need to have remade, it’s movies that are so deeply rooted in the time period that they take place in that there’s no reasonable fathomable alternative to explain the change other than “fuk u guise, we gon’ mak $$$!”  Or something else.

Anyways, Red Dawn is actually quite decent, and much like Citizen Kane, you should watch it just so you can get all those pop culture references that you don’t notice in things.

3.5 / 5